Teaching a child about saving, spending and handling money is an important task. While it may seem overwhelming to approach, children who know about saving money early on are more likely to be better prepared to handle finances as they get ready to leave the nest. When a child receives a check before they can write their name correctly, it's a great opportunity to step in and teach them about currency.
When They Can't Write
When they are truly small and have yet to grab a pencil much less the concept of the written word, there are a few options for you to deposit the child’s check safely in a bank account. Even if your last name is different from your child’s, you can assist in endorsing and depositing a check for them with little hassle. Print the name of the child along the top line of the check. If they are old enough, have them spell their name to keep them in the loop of this transaction. Below that sign your name and write parent or guardian for the cashier.
How to Endorse for Older Children
If your child is able to spell their name, have them give it a go on the backside of the check. While a financial institution may not recognize or acknowledge the signature, or anyone outside your immediate family and the child’s teacher for that matter, it's a good way of bringing the child into the process. Have them attempt to write their name on the “Endorse Here” line or in the area specified by the check company, usually designated with a “Do not write, stamp or sign below this line.” Below the child’s sweet attempt at a professional signature, write “For deposit only.” Write the child’s bank account number on the back of the check to ensure that it won't be cashed if it somehow gets lost or stolen.
Have the child assist with the transaction once you’ve reached the financial institution. They can carry the check, assist with filling out the deposit and hand the pieces of paper to the cashier. Be prepared to show identification for yourself and the child if it's available. If you are simply making a deposit, then the transaction should be smooth and simple. When depositing money or cashing a check with a child you are giving them a peek into how the larger financial world works. This is also a good time to teach them how to write a thank you note to the generous person who gave them the funds.